Saturday, September 20, 2008

Teachers in administration roles

From time-to-time teachers get tired and need to get away from the classroom. Administrative roles have provided a haven for teachers, a temporary solution until batteries are recharged. Many positive things can occur when a teacher embraces this opportunity.

Experienced teachers in administrative roles contribute to the school when using their experience to monitor the progress of a whole cohort and use this experience to ensure that courses run are providing the opportunity for students to progress at their optimum rate.

The means mentoring, monitoring and assisting new teachers through their first few years, providing encouragement and new materials to experienced teachers and ensuring that everyone understands the expectations of their role, have clear, workable and achievable outcomes. They also need constant feedback on their progress.

Teachers in administrative roles need to be involved in the delegation of materials and sequences that are workable given their experience at their particular school and of the staff available. This may mean setting specific curricula, assessment, recording frameworks, assessment timetables and monitoring assessment results such as classwork, standardised testing and competition results. Ideas need to be adequately measured for success and they need recognition of the successes of their ideas.

To keep perspective this person must be connected to the classroom and seen as being put in a leadership role. They cannot be doing permanently pastoral roles (for years at a time) as staff in this position quickly become disconnected from students and teacher colleagues when not actively involved in the day-to-day lives of our students. This may mean resuming .6-.8 FTE doing classroom related work and .4-.2 FTE pastoral care work and gently easing back into the classroom as the tiredness wanes and need for teaching a classroom returns.

Unfortunately some now see these 'Level 3' roles as permanent promotional positions as they attract higher wages with little student contact. Good teachers in these positions without the opportunities to do 'good' within the school (such as the tasks listed above) have no positive classroom contact, are only solving pastoral issues and are seen by other teachers as doing administrative trivia are bound to eventually feel isolated and have self esteem/self image problems. Poor teachers without pastoral flair tend to make a mess of the situation, are rewarded for poor classroom performance and cause further issues for genuine classroom teachers.

We need to carefully look at administrative positions, consider how they are used and treat these roles with the care they deserve. Staff in these roles are the glue and grease of a school. With clear goals in mind they can produce wonderful results for teaching staff, students and the school.

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